First off, thank you for taking a few minutes to read my story and hopefully leave a reply to help me make a sound decision.
My first surgery was 5 years ago in 2010 almost to the day. I had lower back pain with pain radiating down my legs. MRI report: At L5-S1, there is a large central disc protrusion which indents the ventral aspect of the thecal sac and may abut the bilateral S1 nerve roots. Mild facet and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy are seen bilaterally which contribute to moderate narrowing of both neural foramina and mild central canal stenosis. I tried PT, ESI (3), pain mgmt. with no relief. So surgery was next. The procedures performed were Lumbar Laminotomy and Foraminotomy including Partial Facetectomy with decompression of the nerve roots and disc decompression left L5/S1. I was back at home that afternoon. Went back to work within 6 weeks. Have had a few limitations but overall a success and very happy I did it.
A few months ago, the lower back pain started back up not 100% what caused it. I believe when I was boating one day (the once in a blue moon time I go on a boat) I lost my footing and slipped but didn't fall. The pain radiates down my left butt side to the outside of my thigh including burning sensations and Charlie horse feeling sometimes in my calf as well. I have also experienced sharp pain in my groin area on the left when I sit with my legs criss crossed for too long and then can't put any pressure on my left leg without severe pain. After I let it rest awhile, the pain subsides. I can't stand or walk for longer than 15 mins or so without the lower back pain extremely increasing or am taking pain meds (Norco or Naproxen with Gabapentin) which I do my best not to since I am still working and driving. When I sit, I have a hard time finding a comfortable position to alleviate the pain, burning, charlie horse, etc. in my left leg and back.
I have had an MRI done: L4-L5 minimal diffuse disc bulge. There is moderately prominent bilateral facet hypertrophy. no evidence for canal or foraminal stenosis. L5-S1 mild diffuse annular bulging and moderately severe bilateral facet hypertrophy. Findings lead to mild-to-moderate left foraminal stenosis without right foraminal stenosis. And a perineural sheath cyst at S2.
I have consulted with 2 spine surgeons who have both said (in my layman terms) I have overgrown facet joints due to arthritis degenerative disease which is causing a tiny space for the nerve and the disc is bulging into that space which is to the far left. They both have said since I have had surgery before, fusion would be the option since removing additional bone will make the area unstable. I have also spoken with a registered nurse who said the same thing.
I have tried 2 Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injections and pain mgmt. and no significant relief. The pain mgmt. doc for the injections said not to bother with the third if the first 2 didn't give me significant relief and to go back and see the spine surgeon. I do have an appointment on June 1 for a consult. I have been working from home half time since driving for 45 each way would not be fun.
I am leaning towards getting the fusion but would love to learn about my peer's experiences and or opinions from professionals. I know everyone is unique but need help deciding what to do and I have read several forums on this website and all of you seem so informative and supportive.
Thank you!!!! Please remember that there are no medical professionals on the forum side of this site. Everything you read is based on member's personal experiences. For medical advice, you need to consult your doctor.
-- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator 05/21/15